Taxi driver convicted of sex crimes says victim “unharmed”

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A taxi driver who kidnapped, groped and tried to sexually assault a female passenger is arguing in a case before the Ohio Supreme Court that left the woman “unharmed” and in a safe place.

A provision in the state’s kidnapping law reduces the sentence when the kidnapper “releases the victim in a safe place unharmed.”

The case is scheduled for oral argument this week before the Ohio Supreme Court.

In May 2014, Shuaib A. Haji Mohamed picked up two women in downtown Cleveland. The driver told one of the women that her credit card had been declined so he drove her home to get her debit card and took her to an ATM. The woman then discovered she left her keys in her apartment and she asked Haji Mohamed to take her to her ex-boyfriend’s place. During the drive, Haji Mohamed groped her, pulled over on the side of a highway to force her to engage in sexual activity and when she refused, he took her to the ex-boyfriend’s place.

Haji Mohamed was convicted of gross sexual imposition, attempted rape and kidnapping. Ten years of his 15-year sentence is linked to the kidnapping charge. If he were convicted of the lessor kidnapping charge, his sentence would be reduced.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor argues that “harmed” includes physical, psychological or other types of harm. Haji Mohamed counters that prosecutors failed to present evidence of harm to the victim.

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